The Christopher Krenzer Story
THE CHRISTOPHER KRENZER TRIBUTE
On August 26th 2010, at 12:04 a.m., our lives were changed forever. A drunk driver, traveling between 93-104 MPH, ran a red light at the intersection of Perryville and Newburg Roads in Rockford, and struck the driver’s side of our 20 year old son Chris’ Honda Civic. Chris was trapped in the back seat, as there was no longer a front seat.
We were notified by phone that Chris had been in a bad crash, and that we needed to come right away. We had no idea what we were walking in to. We thought about ICU, surgery, rehab. We were seated in a room off to the side in the Emergency Room of St. Anthony Medical Center. A doctor and a nurse came in and said “We’re sorry, but there was nothing we could do. His injuries were too severe.” Just like that. No appeals, no second chances. It was final, devastating news. Our 20 year old son Christopher was dead due to the selfish, reckless decision of a complete stranger to drive drunk.
We were able to sit with him. He was still warm. We were able to touch him one last time. Stroke his hair, touch his hand - barely dead, but dead nonetheless. My wife was physically ill. A priest came in and gave him last rites.
Chris had a heart of gold, and a true compassion for all people. He was a wonderful, charming young man with a great sense of humor. He and his girlfriend Stephanie were together for over four years. We figured they’d get married someday, and that we’d have grandchildren. He loved music, and frequently shared that love by whistling whatever song that was stuck in his head for all to enjoy. Chris was due to start a new job the day after Labor Day, and was looking forward to it. He was going to get in as much fishing as possible before he started. He had recently gotten a puppy, and he named him Dee-Oh-Gee. D-O-G. He took him along wherever he went. For whatever reason, Dee-Oh-Gee was home safe with us the night Chris was killed. We are now caretakers of a living, breathing connection to our son. As we approach the second anniversary of Chris’ death, the effect on our family is devastating. The “recovery” is fragile. Grief is a slippery slope.
Chris’ cause of death is listed as homicide. The young man that killed Chris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for Chris death. He also received an additional 3 ½ years (consecutive) for violating his probation. It was his second DUI.
Chris’ mom, Kelly and I now speak on Victim Impact Panels and have worked with the Illinois State Police. We are committed to doing whatever we can to prevent this horrible tragedy from happening to someone else. Drunk Driving deaths are 100% preventable, and we will not let Chris’ death go unnoticed. He would have done the same for any of us.
The loving parents of Christopher, Kelly and Art